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Google launches new, larger Google Cardboard VR viewer

Luke Johnson

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New Google Cardboard

A year after the original model launched, the Google Cardboard VR viewer has been updated and upsized.

Retaining its cost-effective paper-based roots, the Gear VR rival has been refreshed, being made even easier to build while growing in size to adopt larger handsets.

Our goal with Cardboard was to make virtual reality available to everyone, and so we started with a piece of cardboard, some Velcro, added some lenses and a rubber band and, amazingly enough, that was all you needed to turn your smartphone into a fully functioning VR viewer,” Clay Bavor, a Vice President of Product at Google stated.

He added: “Today, I’m really excited to give you a glimpse at what’s next for Cardboard and our wider efforts in VR.

“The original viewer was great, but it turns out that phones got a lot bigger over the past year. The new design fits phones with screens as large as 6 inches.

This isn’t just a random size increase either. The compatibility with 6-inch handsets means Google’s own phone, the Nexus 6, now gets the VR nod.

Further improvements include the doing away with the original model’s magnet button in favour of a simpler, cardboard option.

“The magnet button was a clever way to do input, but it didn’t work on every phone. We’ve replaced it with one that does, one that’s actually made out of cardboard,” Bavor said.

Looking to the new model's final key new feature, he added: “Also, instead of taking 12 steps to assemble, it takes just three.”

The new viewers are on sale today, May 28, through a selection of retail partners.

Related: HTC Vive review

While the physical Cardboard viewers have been given a refresh, the software hasn’t been overlooked.

“As of today, the Cardboard SDK for Unity will support both Android and iOS,” Bavor explained to the room of developers.

“If you’re creating a VR experience and you want to bring it to everyone, we think Cardboard could help.”

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